By Li Yun
BEIJING, Oct. 19 (ChinaMil) -- Three IL-76 transport aircraft of the Chinese PLA Air Force, carrying the PLA ground forces to participate in the "Peace and Friendship 2018" joint military drill among China, Malaysia and Thailand, took off from Beijing and Wuhan respectively on the morning of Oct.18 and headed to the designated drill area via Hong Kong (Chek Lap Kok) International Airport.
Before then, the guided-missile destroyer Wuhan (Hull 169) and the guided-missile frigate Yuncheng (Hull 571) of the Chinese PLA Navy, each carrying a ship-borne helicopter, set sail on Oct. 14 from a military port in Zhanjiang, a port city in south China’s Guangdong Province. The two ships are expected to arrive at the designated port on Friday.
According to the consensus reached by the Chinese, Malaysian and Thai armed forces, the joint drill will last from Oct. 20 to 29 in Malaysia. The joint drill will be carried out in two stages.
The first stage is the staff headquarters exercise. In the context of the "compulsory peace action crisis response", the drill aims to apply the standard operation procedure and military decision-making process to train the joint planning process of the multinational joint task forces.
The second stage is the actual combat training. The ground troops will conduct drills on such 11 subjects as special sniping, jungle tracking, hostage rescue, and armed escort at a comprehensive training ground in Port Dickson of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. The naval troops will carry out drills covering 10 subjects including ship damage control and tactical exercise in Port Swettenham and the offshore area of Selangor, Malaysia.
The "Peace and Friendship 2018" is a planned joint exercise program within this year. Its main purpose is to enhance mutual trust, cooperation and traditional friendship among China, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as consolidate the development of military security cooperation between China and Malaysia, and China and Thailand.
The drill is also to demonstrate the confidence and determination of the three countries to safeguard peace and security in the South China Sea and enhance the capability to jointly cope with various security threats. The joint drill is not targeted at any third party and has nothing to do with the current regional situation.
The Chinese participating troops consist of 692 officers and soldiers, one guided-missile destroyer, one guided-missile frigate, two ship-borne helicopters, three IL-76 transport aircraft and four vehicles principally from the navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command, the PLA Hong Kong Garrison, and the PLA Macao Garrison.
During the drill, the Chinese, Malaysian and Thai participating troops will also organize various cultural exchange activities. The Chinese naval vessels will be open to local residents and overseas Chinese.